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Anonymous Bobbie wrote:

Hi, guys —

We received a new pastor on July 1, 2022. He was previously part of a two parish "region", with one pastor. Now he's part of a three parish "family", one pastor and two associates. All priests are new to the parishes.

With COVID, all Masses and everything else was canceled. When we finally reopened there were no servers or ushers or anything involving contact.

Now comes a new priest and a bulletin request for servers and ushers and Eucharistic ministers. No meet and greet, no asking about the needs of the parishioners.

Last weekend we heard an angry tirade because he doesn't think we have responded yet to the call for parish participation. It's summer and people are on vacation. No servers have been trained in a few years, school has been out and so there is no available training.

  • Am I out of line to write a letter?

We now have three priests for three parishes. Both other parishes have daily Mass as usual. Because we could only have Mass two days a week previously, (one priest, two parishes), we only get two now. This from the pastor who preaches:

"The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith."

I fully agree with that statement. Not one of the parishes can have a Saturday morning Mass for daily Mass attendees. We cannot have a funeral Mass on Saturday. Saturday afternoon Mass will change from 4:30 pm to 5:00 pm. Part of the tirade was because some were complaining about the change. How dare we spoiled people who complain about a half hour change in the Mass schedule.

I say, if a half hour doesn't make a difference and the people don't want it, why change it. We have three priests. None of them are going to be running between churches and need the time to travel. We also have a retired priest who is available. (He always had the 4:30 pm Mass because our previous pastor had a 4:00 pm Mass at the other church.)

My friend says just suck it up buttercup.

  • Should I write a letter or not?


  { Due to the changes in the number of Masses and their times, am I out of line writing a letter to the bishop? }

Eric replied:


You don't say whom you want to write to. It sounds like you are very frustrated, so I'd encourage you to draft a letter, but I'd address it in a diplomatic and polite way to the pastor. Only when you've discussed it with him and gotten no satisfaction (see Matthew 18:15-17) would I write the bishop, if at all. I would focus on how his actions make you feel and avoid accusations or the use of "you this" or "you that".

For example, instead of saying

"You went on a tirade, and I didn't appreciate that",

you might say,

"I felt humiliated and castigated by what you said to us on this occasion" (or however you felt).

He will be unable to argue about how you feel.

Try also to put yourself in his shoes; there may be a good reason you're not aware of why he moved the Mass time. Obviously, he had a reason. If you don't know what it is, perhaps you might invite him to share it so you better understand the rationale. Be sure to find some good things about what he is doing that you appreciate and include them in the letter. Above all, treat him as you would like to be treated (the Golden Rule, also in the Gospels, Matthew 7:12). Imagine if you received such a letter and how you would react to it.

Once you write the letter, set it aside for a day or at least a few hours and re-read it to be sure your temper doesn't show and that it comes off graciously. Run it past your spouse or your friend. After writing the letter, it may force you to think through things and change your mind about confronting him, so don't be afraid to abandon the letter after drafting it — far from being a waste of time, it is an exercise in processing your emotions and cathartic.

If you cannot write it to be gracious and without your temper showing, I do advise you to abandon the effort.

If you do choose to write the bishop after getting no satisfaction from the priest, it is advised to simply state the facts of what's going on dispassionately and leave the judgment to the bishop.

I don't see any canonical violations here, so the bishop may not be able to take any action as all of this is entirely under the discretion of the pastor.


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